Dharma Glimpse by Alison
During the Covid Era, I experienced real isolation, extreme isolation. Isolation so severe that I’ve been on a mission ever since to ensure no one has to go through what I did for two whole years. This was a tall order. I recognised that not everyone has met isolation and many love their own company and feel safe with that. I used to love my own company, but since covid, I can no longer enjoy my own company, without the company of nature or of other people. At no point in my life has community been more essential. I understand, that as humans and mammals, we all need connection, we all need each other. Zoom, Netflix, social media and even e-mail are not substitutes for Real Connection and face to face communication. The disconnection is like a modern disease of the human race. Having spent nearly a decade in Asia, I’ve been challenged in the UK by a very different social culture. A culture of extreme independence and Having Enough; a culture of caring for our own and of strong individualism. In many Asian cultures, particularly in East Asia where I lived and worked, people identify first and foremost with the group, before the individual. Before living in Asia, I lived many years in ‘socialist Berlin’, where coming together as a community was a normal daily experience. There are obviously benefits on all sides, but we must ultimately find the balance that works best for us. I wonder though, if my need for community and connection is just another addictive behaviour? I wonder too, if I am not just pushing a value onto others? Where is the line between a need and a service to others? How can we know when we are working for the good of all and when we are self-serving?
My experience last April, of coming together at The Big One with XR Buddhists in London, had made me feel alive again! I had reconnected with that force that works through me each and every time I am part of something bigger than my individual worries and difficulties. Like stepping out into Other Power (or the Infinite), into something much bigger, self power (or our limited egoic nature) just melts away and dissolves, like ice in water. A becoming One Unified Living Breathing Body. On the other hand, I am reflecting that if people each live on their own island, they can only see the vast oceans of separation between them. Building fences around ourselves so high that we can only live with the stories of our own inventions and can’t see the reality beyond. To me, from my experience, this separation can cause people to become so wrapped up in self power or their own small selves. How do we break free from our small egoic worlds? I love the phrase from Gandhi when he implied that, in changing ourselves, we could also change the world. Yes, people can change on the inside, but starting with my small self, I together with others, can plant seeds, build bridges or grow ways of linking up, bringing people together, like trees reaching out their roots to connect and to communicate beneath the soil. Gentle connection, respecting space whilst connecting with our roots. It’s not a forcing or a pushing, but a Surrendering into a more Expansive Awareness of each other. n Acknowledgment of each other. A growing in Wholeness. A finding Strength in Unity. An Awareness that we are all Interconnected. We are all One. Perhaps I can step aside from the person I think I am and let the Self, or the Buddha, meet all of my difficult parts and offer their unconditional love and healing. Perhaps, in non dualistic terms, where people aren’t experiencing themselves as individuals, where there is no ‘I’ or ‘we,’ people can rest in a shared space, a space not of Doing but of Being. Resting in Being in gently Expanding Awareness. People’s roots, like the trees, reaching out into a vast web of interconnection.